Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Good Days and Bad Days

So, I have good days and bad days, but most are just mediocre.  If you've ever had the misfortune to have suffered from clinical depression, you'll recognise the pattern.  Long after the worst episodes are behind you, the low level depression lingers, taking the form of broken sleep patterns, lethargy, random feelings of despair and general listlessness.  Their severity waxes and wanes, often for no discernible reason.  As I've mentioned before, I try to maintain a 'steady state', avoiding emotional highs and lows - you learn never to get too excited by anything as that raises expectations which will likely not be fulfilled and, conversely, to try not to to get involved in anything which might drag your mood down.  Generally speaking, this works pretty well, although people who don't know you well (everyone I work with and most of the rest of the world) will inevitably assume that you are some kind of emotionless Vulcan, (which is fine by me, as Mr Spock was always one of my heroes).  Consequently, you also learn to hide behind a  mask, a front you put up for the outside world through which you simulate the expected emotional responses to various situations.

All of which sounds pretty grim - the fact is that most of the time such coping strategies operate only in the background.  I only retreat behind my defences when I feel I'm slipping into a stressful period.  Which is how I feel right now.  The low level depression symptoms are surfacing more frequently as are the bad days.  The fact is, though, that I know the source of my feelings of despair: work.  Increasingly, I feel, I'm being forced into impossible positions, with unreasonable demands being put on my time, my health and safety compromised and the very principles of the public service ethos I believe in, being undermined.  It's got to the stage where I no longer have any belief in the utility of what I do, nor any respect for the people in charge.  All of which is very stressful, not to mention dispiriting.  I know that until I move on from this job, the low level depression symptoms will keep coming back.  Sure, I know that in a couple of week's time I will have convinced myself that things aren't so bad and I'll feel better, but it will only be a matter of time before something happens that triggers the depressive cycle again.  So, the answer is obvious, isn't it?  Change jobs.  But that's easier said than done, with my age and the general economic situation against me.  Plus, I'm a terrible procrastinator, forever convincing myself that the relative security of a bad job is better than the uncertainty of unemployment or a hypothetical unknown future job.  However, I'm slowly but surely nudging myself toward an exit from my current employment.  I'm formulating plans.  Of course, formulating is one thing, actually implementing them is another.  But I'm edging closer.   



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